Chatham High School is addressing the dangers of vaping through a series of programs that seek to educate staff, students, and families. CHS is also providing on-going support resources for students at CHS who want to quit vaping.
On Monday, November 11th, Chatham High School staff heard a presentation by Summit Behavioral Health, featuring presenters Jamie Carvalho and Jacqueline Szablowski. Staff members learned about the history and evolution of vaping and about the various terms students use to discuss it. The presenters also addressed vaping’s long-term health effects as well as the rash of sometimes fatal lung infections that have swept the nation and are now linked to vapes. Staff viewed a video created by CHS video production students on vaping and its risks.
On Tuesday morning, following an announcement by Principal Darren Groh, classroom teachers shared the video with students and facilitated discussions within their classrooms on vaping among teens. By offering small group discussions with teachers students know, CHS hoped to strengthen the message delivered to students about the dangers of vaping and offer them the opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences.
Senior Zoe Iorizzo, who viewed the video and participated in a class discussion on vaping in her English class, said, “Although I have definitely seen changes in ‘vaping culture’ during my years in high school, there are still many people who still don't fully process what risks they're taking when they start. But, with increasing research on the harms of vaping, I do believe the amount of teens vaping will decrease; its won't be ‘cool’ anymore.”
Principal Darren Groh said, “Although we always believed vaping was not healthy, all of the recent data and health issues related to vaping have been alarming. We wanted our program to be more personal and connected in an effort to maintain our positive school culture and support student health.”
Student Assistance Counselors Lisa Lattarulo and Christine Mahoney surveyed teachers about information that students shared in these breakout discussions. That night, the counselors shared some of that student feedback with parents at a panel presentation on teens and vaping. At the presentation, a panel of experts, including a pulmonologist, an addiction specialist, and a Morris County youth coordinator, shared information with parents about vaping and its effects on youth. The panelists also shared how vaping is being controlled in the state of New Jersey and offered parents advice on how to address vaping with their own teenagers. Approximately 70 parents attended the program.
CHS student assistance counselors will offer confidential vaping cessation programs for students who want to quit.
“We know students are addicted. They may struggle to quit on their own. Students can and should seek out support at school to help them to quit. Mrs. Mahoney and I are available to meet with students individually or in a peer group setting to provide the support they need to quit,” said Lisa Lattarulo.
Principal Groh said, “We have plenty of resources at the high school to help students who are vaping or have an addiction. Education, prevention, and support for students will need a team effort from our school community and our families.”